PT Classroom - Understanding Holistic Health ׀ by Linda Lauer, PT


Linda Lauer is a physical therapist who is a graduate of the University of Toledo & the Medical College of Ohio. She has worked in many physical therapy settings, such as in-patient hospital therapy, nursing homes, home health, but mainly out-patient physical therapy. Her work history includes working at the University of Michigan as a staff physical therapist and working with Dr Keith Barbour of Rehab Specialists in Monroe which helped her further her interest and knowledge of alternative therapy approaches. She is currently the owner of Holistic Physical Therapy in Monroe, MI.

Understanding Holistic Health


What is holistic health? It involves a much more comprehensive approach and attitude than we Americans are accustomed to. Traditional western medicine has conditioned us to wait until we are sick to address our “health”. In America we don’t have health care. We have sick care. Interaction with physicians or other healthcare professionals usually is not initiated until there is a physical problem. In America we are not held accountable for the maintenance of our health nor the cost of addressing our health problems later. Preventive care is not usually covered by our health insurance so we decide that our financial priorities don’t include spending our own money on our health. We spend our money on eating out, smoking, alcohol, or various forms of entertainment. Then later when our health is suffering because of poor lifestyle choices, we expect our insurance to “pay the price” for us! When we do get ill, our expectation is that a quick visit to the doctor will produce a magic pill. We pop this panacea into our mouth (please don’t ask us to remember to take it more than once a day!) and all is right again.

Holistic health is proactive, trying to avoid serious illnesses. A patient is viewed holistically, globally. Their entire lifestyle; physically, mentally, and sometimes spiritually is taken into account when evaluating and helping the person. Chinese doctors are paid for keeping their clients well and if someone gets sick under their care they are penalized financially. Imagine how that would change our health care in America! We all seem to innately understand that how we feel emotionally has an effect on how we feel physically. How do we know when someone is depressed? Their body reflects their emotions in its posture, movement and voice. So why does modern medicine usually ignore this connection? Our emotional health does affect your physical health!

Western medicine is just beginning to understand the pervasive negative effects of stress on our physical health. Holistic practitioners realize the importance of decreasing the patient’s stress responses. Often this means guiding the patient toward attitudinal changes that will alter their perception of “stress”. Patients have disassociated from their bodies. They are not in tune with what their bodies are trying to tell them. Patients must learn to listen to their bodies and then honor its needs. When you practice holistic health; you take responsibility for doing the right things for your body, mind and spirit. You give your body healthy nutritious food, clean water and air, exercise, meditation/relaxation practice and most importantly you give your mind and spirit good thoughts! Your physical health is a reflection of how and where you focus your energies. “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” William James (1842-1910).

Start taking responsibility for your own health. It may help to think about how you want to age. What will your health be like at age 80 if you keep up the same lifestyle habits that you have now? Try to live a fuller more conscious life.


Last revised: November 10, 2009
by Linda Lauer, PT

Terms & Conditions

Please review our terms and conditions carefully before utilization of the Site. The information on this Site is for informational purposes only and should in no way replace a conventional visit to an actual live physical therapist or other healthcare professional. It is recommended that you seek professional and medical advise from your physical therapist or physician prior to any form of self treatment.